Christmas Message from The Right. Rev. Dr John Holder, Bishop of Barbados, of the Anglican Church.
There is something about the story and the celebrations of Christmas that grips the attention of the world each year. It holds our attention, at least for a while, and leads us to reflect on some possibilities.
These are possibilities for the improvement of human relationships, and consequently the improvement of the world.
The celebration of Christmas leads us to reflect on the possibility of peace. We reflect on this elusive experience called peace that we all need to be present in our lives and
in the world.
We do so convinced that the presence of peace can transform human relationships and the condition of the world, and move us closer to the ideal of Isaiah 2:4 when the prophet hopes “we will beat our swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks”.
In other words, we hope for a time when war and conflict will not be the ready and easy options in our search for solutions to some of the difficult issues that confronts us in this world.
We reflect at the Christmas times on the possibility of peace and we pledge in the words of St Francis of Assisi to be instruments of peace. We pledge to remove from our lives and from our relationships the attitudes and practices that destroy rather than cultivate and build peace.
The Christmas story also tells of the possibility of hope. It declares that with our faith in God we can hope for a level of goodness that is far better than what we may be experiencing
St Luke’s setting of the Christmas story in the condition of the darkness of night where shepherds are longing for light, and in a condition of sold out pubic accommodation where a pregnant young mother can find no secure and clean space for the delivery of her child, are conditions that issue a cry of hope for better times.
That light pierces the darkness of the shepherds’ night and the stable provides space even if less than the best space for the pregnant Mary, sends out the message that in the darkest of night, and in the most dire of conditions, there can be hope. Things can get better.
This is the Christmas message that we are called to live and share as Christians. We are to be instruments of God’s peace and heralds of his hope.
Make an effort to be an instrument of God’s peace this Christmas. If there is a condition that you are aware of that is full of conflict and tension a condition that makes the presence of peace difficult to implant and to maintain, do your best to restore peace. This is the greatest gift you can share at this time. We are called to be instruments of God’s peace.
Make an effort to be God’s herald of hope. At those times when all seems lost, when the improvement of present conditions seems beyond possibility, be a voice of hope.
With faith in God and guided by the Jesus Our Lord, be a herald of hope for someone who may be going through a difficult stage in life. Let this be another special gift that
you share with someone this Christmas.
The world cannot allow the flames of peace and hope that come alive at Christmas to just last for a few days and then die. The church much be a place where the two are kept alive and effective.
Each Christian must be an instrument of peace and a herald of hope not only at Christmas time but on each and every day of the year. Be these for someone today, and for many, many more days.
May God grant you a blessed Christmas.